Meet a CaST MEMBER: Jim Drader

Last week we told you about the recent Board election of Executive Officers. In the election Jim Drader became the new Chairman of the Board for CST. This week we would like you to meet this hard working member who is always open to trying new things.

Before coming to Chicago Street Theatre, Jim Drader had "never even picked up a script." Jim said he was talking to his daughter Abby, who was in high school at the time, and trying to get her to get involved with more than just the school activities she was doing.

"I told her to try different things, to take advantage of different opportunities, so that when you're older you won't have regrets about things you wished you'd done." Drader added, that as a parent, he was trying to instill in his kids the importance of doing volunteer work and being part of something worthwhile in the community.

Shortly after his conversation with Abby, he was passing Chicago Street, and thought that he might get through to her better if he followed his own advice. Jim stated that he looked online at the different theatres in the area to see what they were doing and saw that auditions were coming up for a production of Neil Simon's Brighton Beach Memoirs at CST. Drader said, "I remembered that the show had been a movie so I came down and read."

"I didn't have any idea what I was doing," he said, "and I was totally nervous, but there must have been something 'cause they asked me to come back for the second night of auditions." Afterwards, Jim learned that he had been cast to play Eugene's father in the play. "That was 2008, and I've been down here ever since."

Drader went on to play other roles in CST's productions of The Jungle Book, Life with Mother Superior, Is He Dead?, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Frost/Nixon, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and, more recently, The Graduate and A View from the Bridge. In addition to his work on stage he has also been involved with building sets and serving as last year's Second Vice/House Chairman. He shared that CST has become part of his "extended family" and that, although their may be tension at times, he has been grateful for the opportunities he's had to learn from each and every person he has worked with.

Jim said that one of the aspects he appreciates about our group is it's ability to offer the community a variety of different theatre experiences like children's shows or cutting edge plays and to do them well. He added that he's very proud to be part of such a talented group that has so much to offer the community. Drader shared that he's very excited about our theatre's future and glad that he followed his own advice to get involved.